With President Trump’s announcement Sunday that social distancing guidelines will continue until at least April 30, the country is preparing for another month of movies, puzzles and board games — and studying of course! But social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Here is a list of five easy ways to stay social while social distancing.
- Video chat with friends and family. Whether you are stuck at home separated from your college friends or stuck at college separated from your family, you can use services like Zoom to communicate face to face with loved ones. With classes being moved to online instruction, it is likely that you already have video chat services readily available, but you can use them for more than class. Schedule a Zoom call with friends — plan a fun theme, play a virtual game or just catch up on quarantine stories to feel connected during this time.
- Use exercise as a way to connect with others. Many of us attend exercise classes throughout the year as a way to socialize while staying fit. Working out alone can be lonely and motivation can be difficult to maintain. With today’s technology, it is quite easy to continue attending these classes virtually. A variety of gyms and fitness gurus have organized live-streamed workout classes for people to attend synchronously, providing a sense of community during the class. For instance, Madison’s own Kamps studio is offering daily live-streamed workouts free of charge. Utilize these services to stay social and keep yourself accountable during these seemingly lazy days.
- Watch a movie synchronously with friends. Now is the time to finally watch that movie you have been talking about since you saw it on the Oscars. But rather than watching it alone, make a plan to watch it at the same time with friends. Grab some snacks and schedule a time to stream the movie from the comfort of your own homes. You can text about any questions or comments you have during the movie, and call them afterward to discuss it. With everyone stuck at home it can seem like there is nothing new to talk about, so use this opportunity to enjoy and discuss films, TV shows or music that you can all enjoy at the same time, even from a distance.
- Use social media to your advantage. At its core, social media was created to stay connected to friends and family. Sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook are meant to be used for being social, so use it that way. Catch up with people who you haven’t seen since high school, respond to your aunt’s comment on your Facebook post from 2013, maybe even slide up on your crush’s Snapchat story — if they reject you, at least you can avoid them for the next few weeks. Use social media posts to document these strange times so you can look back in 10 years and remember that time you finished nine puzzles in one week. While sitting on your phone scrolling through Instagram may sometimes be isolating in itself, use this time to truly connect with people the way that social media sites were made for.
- Actually hang out with your family/roommates. It might be easy to lock yourself in your bedroom and be upset about the current circumstances. Whether you’re a freshman who had to leave campus just as you found your footing or you’re a senior whose last semester on campus was cut short, these are difficult times for all of us. But rather than isolating yourself, spend time with your family or your roommates that you are quarantined with. Say yes when your roommate asks to learn a Tik Tok dance, say yes when your dad asks you to go on yet another walk around the neighborhood. Without the chaos of the normal school year, take advantage of this time to slow down and truly be with those around you.